Birth Injuries: The Approach of a Life Care Planner
Birth injuries are a particularly sensitive part of my practice as both a doctor and a life care planner, which is why I wanted to discuss them further. These injuries often are gut-wrenching, tragic cases. Something goes wrong in, or on the way to the delivery room and/or the labor process, resulting in trauma to the child, the mother, or to both.
The cases I treat often involve a situation where there was a lack of oxygen to the child’s brain, physical or traction injuries (resulting in paralysis or weakness,) or psychosocial issues. These are forever losses. Forever injuries. They often require around-the-clock care, some of which will last a lifetime. The mental anguish they cause can also last a lifetime.
Here is an abridged version of the definition given by Merck re: additional the head and brain injuries to babies:
Scalp Scratches: Can occur with the instruments used during vaginal delivery.
Bleeding Outside of the Skull Bones: Can lead to an accumulation of blood either above or below the thick fibrous covering (periosteum) of one of the skull bones.
Cephalhematoma: blood accumulation below the periosteum. Can resolve on their own, but need evaluation by a physician if it does not.
Subgaleal Hemorrhage: Bleeding directly under the scalp above the periosteum covering the skull bones. Blood in this area can spread and is not confined to one area like a cephalohematoma.
Fracture: Can occur during or after birth. Depressed fractures can lead to further complications.
The Trauma of a Birth Injury Affects Everyone
There is no formula for how a family deals with the outcome of a birth injury. Sometimes I am contacted immediately after an incident. In other cases, the family reaches out after a child’s development begins to slow and it becomes obvious that something is not right. They begin to fall behind. Children are supposed to grow, walk, and talk at certain intervals. These kids do not. Many of them need help feeding or help to stay comfortable, and will never walk or speak a sentence.
It’s important to drive home how hard these cases can hit. “Special” children test entire families and every relationship around them. There is no crystal ball to can predict the future, and neither can I.
A life care planner can help to alleviate many of the “what if’s” that come up with a child with any of these conditions by following a methodology or series of proven reliable steps. This methodology is crucial so that the opinions and conclusion reached by a life care planner, particularly one who is a medical doctor, are reliable. That methodology and its reliability allow us as life care planners to make recommendations that are “more likely than not” to occur within a reasonable degree of certainty and probability.
One thing that is standard is the need to re-evaluate the patient on a regular basis. Their needs change, as do their medical requirements, and the procedures they benefit from. Modern medicine is a marvel and it often introduces advancements in technology, therapies, medications, etc.
If I can answer your questions about birth injuries, or the care involved, etc., please contact my office and allow us to help.